Charge laid in 2010 death of pregnant pedestrian in Abbotsford

A 24-year-old man was charged today (Thursday) in connection to a crash a year ago in Abbotsford that took the life of pedestrian Laurel Wilson, her unborn baby, and her father, Ralph Jewell.

Laurel Wilson

Laurel Wilson

The memorial at the corner of Ware Street and South Fraser Way reveals a year of losses.

There is a wreath of artificial flowers in fall shades of yellow and orange. The light post is wrapped in Christmas evergreen and white poinsettia blooms, with which strands of red-and-pink glittery hearts are intertwined.

Above it all is a plaque stating:  “In Loving Memory of Laurel Nadine Wilson. 3/13/83 to 3/13/10” and “Chloe Nadine Wilson. 3/13/10.”

It is the site where one year ago tomorrow, Laurel Wilson, who was seven months’ pregnant and celebrating her 27th birthday, was killed after she was hit by a vehicle that was involved in a multiple-car collision.

The baby girl she was carrying also died that day. Her father, Ralph Jewell, passed away six months later in hospital.

On Thursday, 24-year-old Shaun James Cochrane of Abbotsford was charged in connection to the incident. Abbotsford Police had recommended a criminal charge of dangerous driving causing death, but Crown counsel approved the lesser offence of driving without due care and attention under the Motor Vehicle Act.

If convicted, Cochrane could face a fine of between $100 and $2,000, and up to six months in prison. He is scheduled to make his first appearance in Abbotsford provincial court on April 4.

Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said police accept that Cochrane will face the different charge.

“We have a great working relationship with Crown … They invested a good amount of time working us through the legal requirement of the (dangerous driving) charge … and why these requirements were not met,” he said.

Wilson was walking with her husband, Kevin Wilson, and her father on her way to a birthday lunch at the time of the accident on March 13, 2010.

The trio were waiting on a pedestrian island at the corner of Ware Street and South Fraser Way.

It is alleged that a Ford F-150 truck driven by Cochrane was headed south on Ware Street, ran a red light and ran into a Honda Prelude that was travelling on South Fraser Way. The Prelude then struck the trio.

Several other vehicles were also involved.

Kevin, 34, suffered minor injuries. Laurel was rushed to hospital, where doctors were unable to save her life and that of her baby.

Chloe Nadine Wilson was born weighing four pounds, 14.5 ounces.

Ralph, who had been pinned against a pole by a car, was also taken to hospital. He remained there until his death on Sept. 15 at the age of 66, surrounded by his wife, Melody, and their two sons.

In addition to Laurel, the couple have six other daughters.

Online provincial court records show that Cochrane pleaded guilty in April 2008 to driving with a suspended licence. He was fined $500 and given a one-year driving prohibition.